UNION SQUARE CAFE
I had lunch at Union Square one afternoon. I found the restaurant itself to be warm and comfortable; I liked the interior very much. The staff was excellent; professional, yet friendly and unpretentious. (I found the service at both Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern to be the best of all the places I tried.) The various breads and olives that are brought to the table when you are seated were excellent. I started with a very simple salad of red and green lettuces, with grated Gueyere Cheese and an excellent vinaigrette. It was a terrific salad. Then, on recommendation from the waitress, I had a Spicy Fried Shrimp Po Boy. Having grown up on the Gulf of Mexico, and being very picky about shellfish in particular - I am a total snob for Gulf Shrimp and Gulf Crabmeat - I was a little suspect. But this was the best fried shrimp I have had away from home, and the chipotle dressing on the sandwich was superb. What a great sandwich. It was very filling, and not difficult to eat. There was an excellent kind of slaw/salad made of watercress and various vegetables accompanying the sandwich that was really good. The shoestring potatoes on the plate were tasty and crunchy; they were also rather cold (the single misstep of the meal). I finished with the best cup of coffee I had in NYC (I'd go back again just for that - the manager actually called the coffee company to find out where I might find it, another example of great attention to customers I found at Danny Meyer's restaurants) and a delicious Banana Tart that was like a crunchy version of Bananas Foster. All in all, a superb meal.